Sunday, December 02, 2007


By Any Chance

"Chance" is a word that plays a significant but, I think, underestimated role in the war creationists wage against science. I think that a close reading of creationist usage of the term reveals that by "chance" they invariably mean "without conscious intent," though they will often be happy to equivocate about that meaning for rhetorical effect.

The meanings given the term by scientists are more varied but are well illustrated by Neal C. Gillespie's discussion in his book, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation of Darwin's uses of the word.

[I]t often meant only "our ignorance of the cause." Sometimes he used it in' the conventional sense of purposelessness, although by that word Darwin usually meant without a place in the structure of nature ... Hence, in the Descent of Man he wrote both of "the grand sequence of events" in living nature not being "the result of blind chance," that is, without a higher purpose and also, "it is incredible that all this {that is, sexual characteristics} should be purposeless," meaning without a function in nature. At other times, he used chance in the sense of random, fortuitous opportunity:

It is improbable that the unions of quadrupeds in a state of nature should be left to mere chance. It is much more probable that the females are allured or excited by particular males, who possess certain characters in a higher degree than other males. . . .
And conversely, in relation to natural selection, he wrote, "I had always perceived that . . . the preservation of even highly-beneficial variations would depend to a certain extent on chance," that is, on varying, haphazard, and coincidental circumstances. But far from building his doctrine on absolute chance, Darwin insisted that all phenomena are governed by laws and so are potentially subject to scientific study and explanation. At no time did he see the world as the result of fortuity in a metaphysical sense. This was contrary to both his science and ... his theology.
Absolute chance, or the happening of events without any identifiable cause in nature, was as anathema to Darwin's concept of science as accepting unique or preternatural causes. All such causes would be opaque to the means available to science. It was, as far as Darwin was concerned, a methodological concern:

The assumption of a uniformity of lawful causality, by which absolute chance was ruled out, made possible the employment of analogy, which was the real backbone of theory-building.
Understanding the interplay between "chance" or "random" events and the law-like regularities that we call "natural" is one of the keys not only to the creation/evolution wars but to the change in the method of science that culminated with Darwin's destruction of the last citadel of scientific supernaturalism.


A Scientific Prediction From Genesis

Besides myself, all others that try to tell us what Genesis says do not understand the text, and are speaking from ignorance. I’m sorry to have to take this position, but there are too many false teachers and unqualified people talking about “creation\evolution debates” (when no such contest exists), and proclaiming false doctrines about Genesis, such as Creation Science, theistic evolution, progressive creation, and “gap” theories. There is even the fad of “Intelligent Design”, which is a big waste of time, and has almost nothing of value to offer.

There are no “creation accounts” in Genesis. The opposing view of evolution is what I call “the Observations of Moses”, which were visions of six days from the past, given to Moses by God, on Mt. Sinai in 1598 BC. Each day was taken from a different day of the week, each week being the first week from a different geologic age of mankind.

Having said that, I am now making this declaration, so that mankind may know that the words and events written in Genesis are true, and the humanist theories of our origins are false. I predict that secular science shall soon find, if they have not already, solid evidence of prehistoric mankind, which is earlier than 30 million years in age. The book “Moses Didn’t Write About Creation!”, states from Genesis that mankind has been in his present likeness for over 60 million years. Moses wrote about extinction and restoration.

Herman Cummings
PO Box 1745
Fortson GA, 31808
An interesting use of "chance" in a Science item (318(5849):376; referring to a paper appearing in an online release of Evolution): "Natural Selection, Not Chance, Paints the Desert Landscape." This refers to what controls flower color on either side of a particular ravine. I wonder if the cdesign proponentsists would be happy to learn that the researchers concluded that the color variations were not the result of chance.
I wonder if the cdesign proponentsists would be happy to learn that the researchers concluded that the color variations were not the result of chance.

Yes, they will be:

Elisabeth Pennisi wrote about this in Science. Her opening line might open some eyes about the difficulty of deciding a question this simple: “Sixty years ago, studies of these patterns provided key support for a powerful evolutionary theory. Now, two evolutionary biologists have found that the theory doesn’t hold in this species.”

Two researchers decided to settle the debate with a long-term field study. Their decision was that natural selection was the winner, at least a little: “In the seed-transplant studies, each color flower typically did best on its own turf, indicating that selection played a role.” There may have been some environmental influences at work, in other words, that tended to make one color predominate in one environment and the other in different environments. But is anyone certain? ...

So in a 13-year study, these scientists could only point to a little bit of natural selection that might have played a role in the color pattern of two varieties within the same species? And they expect us to believe that science has proved that humans have bacteria ancestors due to this wondrous mechanism of natural selection?

But Larry Moran might not be:

“The study shows the unimportance of drift in Linanthus,” says evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei of Pennsylvania State University in State College. “In this sense, [the] finding shakes the ground of the shifting balance theory.” But he is cautious about making generalizations, given that other studies suggest otherwise: “The relative importance of selection and drift depends on the genes and populations studied.”

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